We have a huge number of herbs and spices and their beneficial use in various ailments, the links are spread across these 5 pages, towards the bottom of the page:
Of all the herbs and spices to choose from my top 5 would be:
Garlic is a part of the allium genus – allium sativum in fact – and thus is part of the onion family. It is, of course, best known as a fantastic cooking ingredient, used for its wonderful taste worldwide. The genus allium itself has in fact about 500 species – other well known plants in this genus are onions, chives, scallions and even leeks.
Garlic can actually be considered both as a vegetable and an herb. It has also been used for medicinal remedies for thousands of years – since ancient Greek and Roman times in fact, and maybe before.
For the last 3000 years of human history Garlic has been both cherished and reviled, sought after for its undoubted healing powers, but also sometimes shunned for its pungent after-effects!
So, from being used as a miracle drug then to acting as a ‘vampire repellent’, and even offering for the gods, this extraordinary plant has had an undeniably important place in human history, and today enjoys a renewed surge in popularity as ‘modern medicine’ unearths the wonders of this ancient superfood.
Garlic is an excellent garden choice for even the newest of gardeners – as it is simple to grow, tastes delicious, and is easy to maintain.
Garlic grows well in almost every climate too, and the bulbs from one harvest can be used as seeds for the following year’s harvest.
Individual garlic cloves will act as the seeds. The bulbs grow underground at first, and the leaves shoot up into the air. Although garlic is traditionally thought of as a Mediterranean ingredient it is also grown successfully in some colder Northern climates. The majority of garlic grown in the USA actually comes from California.
There are many different garlic varieties, the two most common varieties being the common ‘hardneck’ (stronger flavor) and the ‘softneck’ (or wild garlic).
When picking out garlic at the store, choose firm, tight, and heavy, dry bulbs.
Garlic’s uniquely pungent flavour is a result of the chemical reaction that occurs when garlic cells are ‘broken down’. The flavour is most intense just after mincing, and this is the most common way of using garlic in cooking in the west.
Useful Tip – the smell of garlic can be actually be removed by running your hands under cold water while rubbing a stainless steel object, like a spoon or a fork.